A lot of people often think as a beauty blogger that my skin is always perfect and glowing. Ha! So not the case. I struggle like anyone else with skin issues and insecurities. I really wanted to share my most recent skin care whoa with perioral dermatitis in hopes that it might help some of you.
Now let me throw out this disclaimer. I am by no means a dermatologist…duh or a doctor but I’m merely sharing what worked for me after researching, and reading other stories. Everyone is different and every case of perioral dermatitis is different.
Ok, so the cat’s out of the bag. I had perioral dermatitis. Now, some of you may know right off the bat what I’m talking about and others may not. Let me give you a quick overview of this skincare condition.
Perioral dermatitis is an inflammatory rash eruption involving the skin around the mouth. The rash may spread up to the nose or even the eyes. It usually appears as a scaly or bumpy rash around the lips. It can also sometimes weep clear fluid. Redness and slight itching and burning can also occur.
It’s looks a lot like a rash on your skin. The condition is most common in women ages 15-45.
I first started to notice a difference in my skin around my left nose. It spread out a little past the area, ending around my mouth. It was red, dry, itchy, and scabby looking. Eventually it spread to my chin area as well but not as bad. It never was anywhere else on my body. Now this happened right when I found out I was pregnant(I’m 35 weeks now). So it was January and I thought oh my skin must just be extra dry due to the weather. I exfoliated the skin around my nose and heavily moisturized daily. It got worst. The redness got redder, the flaking got flakier, and there were now raised bumps. It had been six weeks since I first noticed it and realized it wasn’t just some mild dryness caused by the weather…something else was in play.
So to my computer I went. I looked up every skincare issue I could think of and couldn’t put a finger on what it was. Being an esthetician I’ve seen my fair share of skin issues, but this one had me stumped. One night as I was reading I stumbled upon a blogger who had dealt with perioral dermatitis. Bingo! Why hadn’t I thought of it? The symptoms and manner in which it was acting was par for the course for being perioral dermatitis. I soon was reading every bit of info. I could find about this skin care condition. Here’s a pic I found of the condition. It can look worst, depending on the severity.
It can be really hard to pinpoint what causes perioral dermatitis but what I found was this:
- Topical Steroid Creams
- Makeup, Cleansers, Facial Products
- Hormone Factors in Women
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Fluoride in Toothpaste
- Exposure to Harsh Temps.
- Birth Control Pills
I do think for most women it’s not a clear cut road in diagnosing the condition. I think it can be an accumulation of factors that bring it about. Personally, I wasn’t using any topical steroid creams(nor have I ever), I don’t use products with SLS, fluoride of course isn’t in my toothpaste, and Washington isn’t really known for harsh temps. I was intrigued about the makeup, cleansers, and facial products being a cause, and quickly dove more into researching about it. After all, that was one area I felt could be the culprit. What I found is heavy creams, lotions and foundations can cause perioral dermatitis. Really, the overuse and changing it up often can be the cause. Well, that definitely was me. As a green beauty blogger, I’m constantly switching up my skincare routine to try out new products. Over the last year, it had been at an all time high. Another cause that a lot of people don’t mention, but I found may be true with my situation is pregnancy. Being pregnant, my hormones were obviously all over the place. Also, gut flora can be out of balance when pregnant. Having too much yeast in the gut is also a common issue among pregnant women, and this can cause a lot of skin issues. Candida is the condition where there is an overgrowth of yeast. It is a fungus. I knew all of these things could be true in my case.
I also knew if I was to go and see a dermatologist they would quickly prescribe an antibiotic-typically how most people deal with the condition. And more likely than not, negate all my findings. Plus, from many stories I read, even those who took antibiotics for it ended up taking them a year later for a flare up. I talked with my Naturopath about it, and he agreed it could be the above causes that I mentioned. He also said it’s common for woman who are pregnant to have more yeast in their gut.
Now that I knew what it was and what might be causing it, I was ready to take action.
So what did I do:
- Stopped using all products and switched to just a basic oil cleansing method with castor oil
- Just used Argan oil for my moisturizer day and night but avoided the infected area
- Avoided all heavy creams
- Applied Zinc Oxide morning and night to the infected area. Zinc is very soothing and I had read many stories of how it benefited those with perioral dermatitis(I used Honest’s Baby Dipaer Cream that has a zinc content of 14%)
- I also avoided really hot water or really cold water, as to not aggravate it more
- I didn’t exfoliate the area at all-you definitely don’t want to cause it to flare up more
- I avoided high sugar foods and dairy-sugar feeds yeast and dairy causes inflammation
- I made sure I was taking my probiotic everyday
- I also halfway through started to use Mountain Rose Herbs Powerful Skin Compound-this really I believe is what kicked the perioral dermatitis for good. My naturopath had recommended it to me. He had patients who had used it for athlete’s foot(another fungal like infection) and had it cured. It’s a salve consistency and I would put this on the last two months instead of the zinc cream.
- I tried to avoid wearing makeup most days since it can aggravate and cause further inflammation
Can I be honest? There were points where I wanted to just take something and have it go away. I was so close to going to the drugstore and getting some over the counter anti-fungal cream. I remember right before Indie Beauty Expo in early May thinking I would just give in and go the traditional prescription drug route. After all, I didn’t want to show up to the blogger’s conference focused on beauty and have my skin acting up. BUT, common sense and a strong desire to figure out the natural way is what caused me to keep on until it was completely gone. Plus, being pregnant I didn’t want to put anything crazy on my body. It got better over time too. It wasn’t that bad at Indie Beauty Expo, and with makeup on probably not noticeable to most. So how long did I have it? It first started the beginning of January and lasted until the very end of May. My skin has been clear now for 2 months. The typical time for it to clear up really depends from what I read. Anywhere from months to a year. Here is a recent unedited pic of my skin clear with no makeup on(except my brows). I wish I would have taken a before picture when I had perioral dermatitis but honestly I was so grossed out by it I avoided pics.
I noticed improvement each month. I also felt avoiding makeup really was huge. It would appear clearer and less red the days I didn’t wear any makeup. Also, the combo of the zinc oxide and Mountain Rose Herb Salve really soothed and I believe help kill off the fungus. What works for one person may not work for another, so don’t get discouraged! The biggest factor with perioral dermatitis is the time it takes to help heal the area-don’t rush it.
Skin issues can be so annoying to deal with and at times, life altering in their own way. I hope this post can shed some light on natural ways to cope with perioral dermatitis and give hope to those who are suffering from it. Please leave me a comment if you’ve dealt with it, and what you did to help heal it! Also, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.